You have just finished your manuscript and now you are eagerly looking for a publisher that will accept your unsolicited submission. As you may know, technically you can't get published without an agent.
A literary agent is a representative of you who negotiates a deal with a publishing company. Literary agents can be extremely helpful in getting into the publishing world. The problem is that often you can't get an agent without being a published author... Yes, it doesn't make much sense. As a first-time author, you may struggle like J.K. Rowling did: She couldn't find a publisher that was interested in Harry Potter! But, we all know what happened to J.K. Rowling. So: don't give up!
For our Wee Bookworms Book Subscription, we choose books from indie publishers and big publishing companies. There is a good chance that your book will be in one of our subscription packages!
Of course there is always the option to self-publish. It is easier than ever to publish your book on amazon, for example. But one problem remains: Your book may be fantastic or even a masterpiece but you need to reach the crowds. And that is why self-publishing isn't as straightforward as it seems. You are alone in a MASSIVE market.
However, you also can't simply assume that a traditional publisher will boost your book with special marketing tools like there is no tomorrow. In the end, a publisher will only put effort into the books they truly believe in.
This means that, regardless of whether you self-published your book or you were chosen by an actual publisher, you may have to market your book too. Never ever simply publish your work and leave it at that. But hey, we can talk about marketing your book in another blog posts.
First of all, what actually are unsolicited submissions?
To lift the confusion over unsolicited submissions, the following explanation might help:
- Unsolicited submissions are submissions that the publishing house did not ask for.
- Unagented submissions are submissions that were not sent by literary agents.
Let's put our focus on the independent publishing industry. In the UK there are a few children's book publishers that still accept unsolicited manuscripts. These independent publishing houses have different submission requirements. Please spend some time reading them and adapt your submission to their guidelines.
20 Children's Book Publishers accepting unsolicited submissions
Before you start your search for suitable publishers, take a look at the follow tips:
- Check the books that were published under the publisher's imprints. Does your book fit into this?
- Read the submission guidelines carefully. Some publishers do not only want your manuscript but also a cover letter and a synopsis of your work. Others do not want the entire manuscript but only the first three chapters. To be considered, you have to follow their individual guidelines.
- Adapt your manuscript accordingly.
- Be patient! These publishing houses may receive hundreds or thousands of manuscripts every month. It simply takes time to go through them all. Most of them do send you a wee message and let you know whether they are interested in your manuscript or not.
The following publishers accept unsolicited submissions. You do not need to have a literary agent to submit your work to them.
1. Andersen Press
Named after Hans Christian Andersen, the author of countless magical fairy tales, Andersen Press was founded by German born Klaus Flugge in 1976. Flugge left East Germany in 1953 due to his political views. Andersen Press is famous for publishing books from authors such as David McKee (Elmer the patchwork elephant) or Max Velthuijs (Frog). They really have some bestselling books in their collection.
Obviously, Andersen Press only accepts children's books (picture books, children's fiction and teenager fiction). Take a look at their submission criteria and give them a go. Click here for their submission guidelines.
2. Quarto Knows
The Quarto Group, founded in the 1970s, is an international publishing house that has various imprints. They have been publishing children's book since 1990.
Maybe you have heard of the books 'Little People: Big Dreams' before? It is a fantastic series about famous people that changed the world. One division of the Quarto Group is Quarto Kids with the imprint 'Lincoln Children's Books'. It is great that they are accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Keep in mind that they are especially interested in innovative ideas. Take a look at their submission information.
3. Penguin Random House Ireland
Penguin Ireland is part of Penguin Random House (Ireland)- one of the biggest publishers in the world! They are interested in all genres apart from picture books and you can send in your manuscript via email with a short synopsis of your work. Click here for their submission guidelines.
4. Ransom Publishing
Ransom and their sister company 'Dragon Books' specifically targets unenthusiastic or struggling readers by offering age- appropriate books with lower reading ages. They do not publish picture books and general books for the early years. Ransom Publishing was founded in 1997, so this publishing house is well-established. You can find their submission guidelines here.
4. Dinosaur Books
Dinosaur Books is one of the smaller publishing houses. It especially focuses on the age group 5-12. As you can imagine, they seem to be super interested in Dinosaur Books and adventure stories. Click here for more information.
5. Maverick Books
Maverick Books has a submission window that opens and closes occasionally. This publishing house has been around for 10 years now! They are especially interested in picture books (up to 650 words), junior fiction (6000-18000 words) and even illustrator submissions!
6. Piccadilly Press
Piccadilly Press wants to read your manuscript! This publishing house is interested in stories for kids that are 5-12 year old. They also accept picture books. Their submission info isn't very detailed, so I would suggest to take a look at their published books on their website to get a feel for what they like. Click here for more info.
7. Michael O'Mara Books (Buster Books)
Buster Books (an imprint of Michael O'Mara books) is always on the lookout for new manuscripts in the following categories: non-fiction, picture books, early years, fiction and activity books. However, they are not interested in poetry. This independent children's book publisher has some beautifully illustrated books on offer. Click here to find out more.
8. Everything with Words
Everything with Words is a little independent publisher since 2017. They only publish fiction for younger children and children aged 10 and older. You can find their submission guidelines here.
9. Fledgling Press
The Scottish publisher Fledgling Press has a submission window that is closed from the 22nd of February until the 1st of July. It is a small independent publishing house that is based in Edinburgh. Click here for more info.
10. Floris Books
Kelpies is the imprint of Floris Books. This Scottish publisher only accepts unsolicited manuscripts of writers from diverse and underrepresented communities. Additionally, they are also interested in books for the Steiner-Waldorf community. Their guidelines can be found here.
11. O'Brien Press
This well-established and award-winning publishing house from Ireland has been publishing books for over 40 years. They only accept postal unsolicited submissions. Click here for their submission guidelines.
12. Flying Eye Books
Flying Eye Books is an imprint of the publisher Nobrow. They publish beautiful, high-quality children's books for various ages. On their website you will find detailed submission guidelines.
13. Candy Jar Books
Candy Jar Books is an award-wining indie publisher that accepts submissions from new authors. Their submission window for children's fiction is open from time to time. However, they are not interested in picture books. Click here for more information.
14. Sweet Cherry Publishing
This publisher specialises in sets and they love a good book series! They are especially interested in fiction and also accept picture book submissions. Please read their guidelines, as they want you to send a pitch + the first two chapters/ 3000 words and not your entire manuscript. Their guidelines can be found here.
15. Imagine That Publishing
Imagine That Publishing has been around now for over 20 years! Keep in mind, they do not consider manuscripts that also have been sent to other publishers. This publishing house specialises in chapter books and picture books. Click here for more information.
16. Wacky Bee Books
Wacky Bee is on the lookout for books for 3-12 year old children. They are interested in all themes and also love a little bit of humour. Their submission guidelines can be found here.
BookLife has been around for over 50 years now! They like fiction and non-fiction for 3-9 year old children. Want to know more? Click here.
18. Matthew James Publishing Ltd.
Matthew James Publishing specialises in children's picture books. Their kids books imprint is called 'Tiny Tree'. Click here for more info.
19. Strident Publishing
Strident Publishing doesn't want your manuscript initially. Instead they would like to receive a 'pitch' about your story and why it could become a great success. They will request your manuscript, if they are interested. Their submission guidelines can be found here.
20. Birlinn Limited
Birlinn is another Scottish publisher. They are especially interested in books that, in some way, have Scottish and UK based themes and they also accept poetry. Their imprint is called BC Books. Click here for more information.